Governor’s outbursts not befitting his office: Kerala CM

Pinarayi counters Khan allegations on controversial appointments in universities

September 17, 2022 09:07 am | Updated 09:14 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s ‘outbursts’ against the government ‘ridiculous’ and not befitting the latter’s office.

Mr. Vijayan's strong criticism of Mr. Khan, at a press conference in the Secretariat, indicated that the government had crossed the Rubicon vis-à-vis its fraught relationship with Raj Bhavan.

“I don’t know what is happening to the Governor. Mr. Khan might have gunned for something and realised somebody had shortchanged him. The Governor was venting his frustration by airing absurd statements against the government in public. Mr. Khan should examine himself or have himself examined,” he said.

Mr. Khan had provoked Mr. Vijayan's ire by suggesting that the latter was in the know of the preferential treatment accorded to the next of kin of the Chief Minister's personal staff in university appointments.

Appointment stayed

Mr. Khan appeared to be alluding to the controversial appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of Mr. Vijayan's private secretary K.K. Rakesh, as Associate Professor, Malayalam, at Kannur University. Mr. Khan, as Chancellor of Universities, had stayed the appointment on nepotism grounds.

Mr. Vijayan countered that being related to a person in the Chief Minister’s office does not deprive an individual of her free will. It’s absurd to suggest such persons keep the Chief Minister in the loop about their business.

Mr. Vijayan said the stakeholders would face the consequences if appointments were illegal. “It is puzzling who gave the Governor the authority to insinuate thus. It’s not befitting his office,” Mr. Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister castigated Mr. Khan for suggesting communists resorted to strong arm tactics. Mr. Khan should realise that communists were the sole Opposition in the first Lok Sabha.

Moreover, an anti-Congress alliance suggested a communist leader as India’s Prime Minister at one point. “Mr. Khan thinks that Raj Bhavan is a pulpit for politicking. That is his level of understanding. The Governor is using the language of intimidation, and not the government,” Mr. Vijayan said.

On campus politics

Mr. Vijayan castigated Mr. Khan for purportedly suggesting that the Governor would disallow campus politics. Students, teachers, government employees and workers have the inalienable right to pursue their political agenda and campaign for their ideals. “Mr. Khan could ban posters inside the Raj Bhavan. But, outside democracy prevails,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan said the government had no apprehension that the Governor would deny assent to the recently passed University Law (Amendment), Act, 2022 or the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Act, 2022.

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